January 6, 2019: Christ Revealed to the Nations
TEXT FOR SUNDAY, January 6, 2019:
PReparation for worship
“Stars cross the sky, wise men journey from pagan lands, earth receives its Savior in a cave. Let there be no one without…gratitude as we celebrate the salvation of the world, the birthday of the human race. Now it is no longer, ‘dust you are and dust you shall return,’ but ‘you are now joined to heaven and into heaven shall you be taken up’.” –Basil the Great, 4th century sermon on Matthew 2
“Were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death,
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.”
–from T. S. Eliot, “The Journey of the Magi”
Our Confession of Faith (The Westminster Confession of Faith) does not list offerings as an essential element of worship. I quibble with this a bit.
In today’s passage, we see the Wise Men indicate that they have come to worship and they do so, at least in part, by giving gifts—extravagant gifts even. I believe this is important.
By giving these very expensive gifts, the Wise Men are saying, “You (Jesus) are more important than these things. Our joy is made complete in you, not in this stuff.”
That is a good discipline for our souls. I want to thank you and note the incredible generosity of this congregation in the month of December. I am sure that sacrifices were made and they reflect your conviction that Jesus is worth more than our stuff.